According to reports from southeast Asia, the Hong Kong-based property investment group Cheung Kong has bought a 29% share in the non-life underwriter Ming An for $78 million.

Reuters cites the South China Morning Post as saying that Cheung hopes to tap into the booming mainland Chinese insurance market through acquiring the share. Although Ming An is also based in Hong Kong, it does have a license to trade in underwriting in China proper.

Under the terms of the deal, Ming An’s controlling shareholder China Insurance HK will see its holding fall to 66.1% from the present 100%. The South China Morning Post also reports that the moves are a likely prelude to Ming An’s IPO which it forecasts will occur within the next 15 months.